With the ongoing pandemic and the Omicron variant threatening to interrupt and change our new normal, it is critical for companies to seriously consider implementing the right remote working strategies to not only be safe, but for the benefit of the business too.
Big Tech giants who are tentatively offering ‘shybrid’ working policies instead of taking the plunge with remote-first working are missing out on huge opportunities. Now should be the time for companies to overhaul their business and offer a flexible, yet highly successful working environment.
Here are four ways that technology teams can truly benefit from fully committing to remote-first.
A boost in productivity
Pre-pandemic, while some technology teams had more flexibility than others, generally the options for working remotely were limited, and many thought of working from home as a cop out or for those wanting to evade work. Almost two years later, remote working has enabled team members to be as productive, if not more so, than when in a physical office. Omdia’s ‘Future of Work’ survey collated responses from over 300 executives at large companies and found that 68% of the respondents believed team member productivity had improved when working from home in comparison to the office. Having the opportunity to create a personal working haven in their own home has helped people to be more comfortable with where they work, with fewer distractions, and therefore more productive.
However, this isn’t a silver bullet for increasing productivity or without issues to address - employers should invest in thorough remote-first onboarding training plans to make sure everyone is on the same page, and asynchronous collaboration tools can help with this. There is also the issue of team member burnout, with many reporting an increase in overworking and citing remote working as the source of the problem. If employers invest in a fully formed remote-first policy, boundaries can be built and team members can enjoy the benefits of increased productivity without burning out.
Rebalancing the work-life harmony
The past couple of years have provided a huge shake-up in the way we view work and many people’s priorities have shifted. Gone are the days where team members have to be up at an unreasonable hour for a long commute to work, and team members want to spend the time or money saved from commuting on things they enjoy. A recent study by Dropbox has found 79% of workers confirm that remote-first has been a success thanks to the newfound flexibility that gives team members the opportunity to turn the vice of isolation into the virtue of independence, by rebalancing their work-life harmony and prioritizing their mental health.
It is important for employers to actively encourage technology team members to find the balance between work and everyday life. Remote-first pioneer Gitlab has spoken out on rest ethic and its equal importance to work ethic. It’s essential for preventing burnout. It’s no coincidence that many of Comparably’s top 50 happiest places to work have great remote-working policies, focus on team member wellbeing, and see stronger team member retention as a result.
Location agnostic hiring
One of the aspects of remote working that I appreciate most is the ability to work in any location, and in some instances, through any time zone. A borderless business also means employers are automatically growing their hiring horizons, and there is virtually no limit to where talent comes from. Recent research from Microsoft has found that 70% of workers want remote work to remain an option and with the Great Resignation well underway, employers need to step up their commitment to remote-first in order to attract the best talent.
A challenge any global business faces is team members working together from different continents and different time zones. Global tech team members are no different, but with the right tools in place such as asynchronous work and a “document everything” approach, tech teams around the world can see their productivity increasing in a remote-first set up.
Remote-first designed by and for team members
Remote working has opened the doors for many team members, and it is here to stay. With PwC finding that 83% of companies have implemented some form of remote working, it is worth standing out from the rest by fully embracing remote-first. If employers regularly engage with team members for feedback on the positives and areas to improve, truly effective remote working policies can be developed rather than just checking a box to follow the hybrid working trend. Team members’ feedback should be at the heart of every decision that is made, and no one is better to ask than the analytical and problem solving brains of tech team members who are experiencing the effects of remote working themselves.
By running frequent surveys and genuinely asking team members how working from home impacts their lives as a whole, from their mental and physical health, to their productivity and overall career plans, helps businesses to shape what the future of work looks like for those working in tech.
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